Richard Houchin

Examples of Gaming Narrative

Elsewhere on this site I've placed essays and short stories, but I've also written player-driven game dialogue. I've done a couple short modules with the Neverwinter Nights toolset, as well as some text-only dialogue trees. There's no real gameplay here in terms of combat or puzzles, just talkin'.

The NWN modules and dialogue trees were written for this portfolio, but I have a practical example of game narrative that was played through by real gamers. Back in August of 2005 I secretly lead an in-game roleplaying event for my guild in World of WarCraft. It relied heavily on player interaction and included roleplay on the forums, in-game conversations, quests, and even combat and rewards.

If you have Microsoft Word, you can glance over these dialogue trees.

If you have Neverwinter Nights, grab one of the modules and enjoy the characters!

The WoW event was called the Return to the Dream, and you can read about it below.

Writing for Games

Some games have moments that never seem to fade, and others have characters who never get old. I still think about how Grom Hellscream looked and sounded as he breathed his last breath with the words, "I have freed myself." I still laugh at HK-47's digs at the 'meatbag' players. I still have a guilty satisfaction at having talked the villainous Sarin into committing suicide.

It all comes down to the narrative. The textual framework on which stories and characters get crafted -- someone or some group of people sketched it out and gave it direction.

That's where I want to be. Laying the foundation for characters and moments of resonance. Guiding the growth of a world that doesn't just give life to an imagined reality, as books do, but which also invests the player with a sense of creation and a feeling of impact.

That is what a good game -- with a good writer -- can do.